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September 14, 2004

Sun Devils Nix High Noon Start For Payola

FROM THE MID-DAY OPPRESSIVENESS OF THE SONORAN DESERT comes word of a commendable decision made in the interest of fans and players.

Presented with the tantalizing opportunity to take in “found money” of $240,000 from Fox Sports Net TV to switch his game time to 1 PM, Arizona State University AD Gene Smith opted to do the right thing by his fans and his players by keeping the game at 7 PM.

The 1 PM start would have risked substantial discomfort—and possible medical difficulties--for untold numbers of fans and players, so Smith opted to do the safe thing.

And this despite the fact that ASU is currently burdened by a $1.1 million deficit.
However, Smith’s decision was predicated on the hope and belief that ASU fans would show their appreciation by filling the stadium for the game versus Iowa. With less than a week to go before the game, there were still 8000 unsold tickets.

AD Smith has a history of implementing fan-friendly initiatives. For example, last year he rolled back ASU season ticket prices, even though the Sun Devils were coming off one of their best seasons. He wanted ASU tickets to be affordable for all who live in the community.

Meanwhile, there is a different dynamic at state-rival University of Arizona (subject to the same oppressive mid-day heat of the Sonoran Desert), where they have rescheduled TWO night games to 12:30 p.m. starts for a payout of more than $550,000.

"There are a lot of places in the country that will play football where it will be a lot hotter and more humid than Tucson, and they do it every week," said Arizona AD Jim Livengood.


(this 281 word excerpt—with accompanying commentary—was distilled from a 649 word article in the Arizona Republic of 9-14-04, and a 328 word article from the Tucson Citizen of 9-14-04)